ARTD 3480 Video: Sound+Image Syllabus, Sp19

4 SH, Spring 2019, 205 Shillman Hall, Wednesdays, 1:35 to 5:05 P.M.
Instructor: David Tamés,, @cinemakinoeye, 617.216.1096 (mobile)
Office: 329 Ryder Hall; Office Hours: Tuesdays and Fridays 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. or by appointment

See also: ARTD 3480 Video Basics Schedule, Spring 2019

Course description

Continues the study of video as an art form with a focus on the dynamic relationship between sound and the moving image. The course begins with audio exercises exploring various aspects of sound design, which will be integrated into an in-depth video production. Emphasis will be placed on producing innovative video with powerful visual imagery, complex editing rhythms, and creative sound design.

Learning objectives

Through a series of audio and video exercises you will continue your study of video production with an emphasis on cinematography and sound design. The powerful impact of combining sound and the moving image will be revealed through careful examination of exemplary works. You will refine your ability to shoot and edit video paying particular attention to composition, movement, and sound in your work. Readings and screening of ex- emplary works will provide the context for your production work as you continue to develop your production skills, improve your ability to analyze the moving image, and enhance your conceptual thinking skills.

By completing this course, you will:

  • develop an understanding of the aesthetic dimensions of cinematography and sound design for the mov- ing image as evidenced in your responses to readings and screenings during class discussions;
  • expand your technical proficiency in video production as demonstrated by your ability to shoot video that is well composed, focused, and lit and also edited in a manner that is cohesive in form and content;
  • develop proficiency recording location sound and creating sound effects as evidenced by your ability to complete a series of audio projects with sound elements that are clean, audible, and expressive;
  • gain an appreciation for the impact of sound combined with moving images as evidenced in the way you combine sound with video to enhance your production assignments; and
  • further develop your conceptual thinking as evidenced in the way you incorporate the ideas explored in readings, screenings, and class discussions into your work while demonstrating fluency with audiovisual aesthetics.


You must successfully complete ARTD 2380 or MSCR 1230 prior to enrolling in this class.

In order for course completion prerequisite to be waived, you must demonstrate fluency with video camera operation, editing with Adobe Premiere Pro, and an understanding of cinematic language fundamentals.

Teaching method, classroom activities, and homework

Class meetings consist of demonstrations, hands-on exercises, video screenings, presentations, discussions, and the screening and critique of video production assignments. A significant portion of learning in this course occurs as you work on production assignments and reflect on your work.

Schedule, milestones, and deadlines

The course schedule is available in a separate document. Milestones and deadline for all work are listed in the schedule. The schedule also includes links to all viewing and reading assignments. Your video projects are likely to require more time than anticipated, therefore, plan ahead and stick to the milestones in the schedule as these are designed to make it easier to meet deadlines.

Assignments and production projects

You’ll find a detailed description of each assignment and production project in an assignment or project description document and links to these documents are embedded in the schedule.


Index page
The index page provides a single starting point for everything you need to for this class. Links to all readings and viewing may be found in the course schedule.

Blackboard will be used for periodic announcements, handing in writing assignments, and posting of grades. Feedback on work submitted through Blackboard will be provided through the “Feedback to Learner” section associated with the assignment.

Team drive
We will use a Google Team Drive for sharing notes and feedback on project work.

Shared media server
We will use the Avid Nexis media server in Shillman Hall for media storage, sharing, and submission of video deliverables. If you would like to work remotely, I suggest keeping media assets on Artserver and then copy your deliverables to the Media Server prior to the screening and critique session.

Equipment reservations and checkout
Reserving and checking out equipment will be handled by Media Studio staff in Shillman 225. Please keep in mind we have a shortage of equipment and therefore reservations are essential to assure you have access to gear when needed to complete assignments.


You will find links to required readings and viewings in the course schedule. You are expected to incorporate topics covered in the viewing and readings in class discussions and reflection essays.  The following are required reading:

  • Making Media: Foundations of Sound and Image Production by Jan Roberts-Breslin, 3rd ed., Focal Press, 2012 [e-book]

 The following readings are suggested for review and reference:

  • Visual Storytelling by Nancy Kalow, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, 2011 [pdf]
  • Video Revolutions: On the history of a medium by Michael Z. Newman, Columbia University Press, 2014 [e-book]

In addition to the required readings, you’ll find handouts, reference pages, and online tutorials listed on the index page. These materials cover the video technology and applied media aesthetics relevant to completing projects in this course and you should scan them and/or refer to them as needed.

If you’re new to the fundamental studio practice of the critique, the Critique Guide will be particularly important to read.


You are expected to arrive to class on time. Only one unexcused absence is allowed. A second unexcused absence will result in your participation grade adjusted to 0. A third unexcused absence will result in a final grade of F. The University attendance policy will be followed. If you plan to miss a class, let your instructor know in advance. Excused absences will be granted only as permitted by the policy. Missing a screening and critique session will result in an additional 2 point deduction from your participation grade (in addition to any deductions due to absences) since screening and critique is a critical component of this course. 


The final grade for the course will be based on the following distribution:

  • Attendance and engaged participation: 10%
  • Introduction and learning goals (not graded)
  • Video for Sound: 10%
  • Sound for Video: 10%
  • In-class workshop assignments: 10%
  • Mid-semester self-assessment (not graded)
  • Artist Presentation: 10%
  • Personal Project: 15%
  • Team Project: 25%
  • Final reflection: 10%

A grading rubric is included with each project and assignment providing you with the criteria used to grade your work. Note that your grades on writing assignments and video projects are based on performance, not effort (as measured perhaps by hours you spent completing the work). Effort and performance are quite different.

Your final letter grade for the semester will be based on the following translation of internal numerical grades reported in Blackboard to final letter grades (this translation is internal to the course and does not correspond to any external systems):

  • A 95 – 100, A– 92 – 94 (outstanding achievement)
  • B+ 89 – 91, B 86 – 88, B– 83 – 85 (good achievement)
  • C+ 80 – 82, C 77 – 79, C–  74 – 76 (satisfactory achievement)
  • D+  71 -73, D  68 – 70, D– 65 – 67 (Poor achievement)
  • F 0 – 64 (failure to achieve minimal standards)

Grade dispute

If you have a concern over any grade received, you may dispute the grade by submitting via email an essay to your instructor providing cogent evidence for a higher grade vis-à-vis the grading rubric.

Late work

Late work will result in a 30% reduction of the points earned as long as the work is handed in within 48 hours from the time it was due. Late work must be accompanied with a note (sent to your instructor via e-mail prior to the deadline) with a reasonable explanation for why the work will be handed in late. After 48 hours there will be no credit given for the assignment. Missing a class session does not grant an extension of assignment or project deadlines. 

Academic integrity

The University academic integrity policy will be enforced. A commitment to the principles of academic integrity is essential to the mission of Northeastern University. Academic dishonesty violates the most fundamental values of an intellectual community and undermines the achievements of the entire University.

Classroom norms

Meaningful and constructive dialogue is encouraged and a high degree of mutual respect, willingness to listen, and tolerance of opposing points of view is expected. Classroom discussion is meant to allow us to hear a variety of viewpoints. This can only happen if we respect each other and our differences. The concept of mutual respect extends to fully engaging in class instead of diverting attention to electronic devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, laptops) during class unless classroom activities require the use of electronic devices to complete the task.

Students with disabilities

Students who have disabilities may wish to consult the Disability Resource Center for aid with resources and accommodation. Those who wish to receive academic services and accommodations must present the accommodation letters from the DRC to their instructors at the beginning of the semester so that accommodations can be arranged in a timely manner.

Writing center

The Northeastern University Writing Center (part of the Writing Program and Department of English in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities) exists to help writers at any level in their written communication.

Language support for non-native English speakers

Global Student Success (GSS) supports the success of international students at Northeastern University and offers services to students, faculty, and staff. While the Global Student Success office is housed under CPS, its services are available to all students.